Today’s Scripture: Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. PsalmĀ 42:11

Very few of us could suffer financial ruin, then lose four children and say, “It is well with my soul.” Yet, this is exactly what Horatio Spafford did. The Great Chicago fire of 1871 burned the successful lawyer and investor into financial ruin. By 1873, he was hit by a wide-spread economic downturn. It was around this time he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the SS Ville du Havre. Delayed on business by zoning problems following the fire, Horatio sent his family on ahead of him. While crossing the Atlantic that ship collided with another sea vessel and began a rapid descent into the ocean. All four of Spafford’s daughters perished in the tumult. His wife, Anna, survived and sent him the telegram, “Saved alone.” Horatio began the journey to meet his grieving wife, and as his ship passed near the spot where his daughters had died, he wrote:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord haste the day, when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Even in his darkest hour, this man chose to see God’s love. Horatio ministers to us through his words to this day. You may be grieving more deeply than words can express. Whether suffering the loss of a loved one or having recently received an unsettling medical diagnosis, your trial is not in vain. Because of what you are enduring, you have a connection with others who are suffering-people who need your love and encouragement and, more importantly, need to know about your Savior. Try reaching out and encouraging someone or sharing the hope of the gospel. Your choice to minister instead of being miserable will make all the difference in the world for you and for them.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.